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Cracks widen in Kano PDP as Kwankwaso, Wali’s faction refuse to reconcile

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
18 December 2020   |   4:20 am
The internal crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano is getting worse by the day, as two gladiators battle for the soul of the opposition party. Both factions are deploying every means possible, including legal instruments to claim control.

Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso

• Wali’s faction to participate in council election
•APC tackles Kwankwaso’s faction

The internal crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano is getting worse by the day, as two gladiators battle for the soul of the opposition party. Both factions are deploying every means possible, including legal instruments to claim control.
Since losing the governorship election to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last year, the opposition party has been struggling to survive its internal skirmishes. Observers believe the party’s unraveling is in the interest of the ruling APC, essentially ensuring that the two central figures – former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, never reconcile.     
Even with the intimidating ubiquity of the red and white symbols of the Kwankwasiyya movement, with its substantial numerical strength in the party, Kwankwaso has tried all he could to displace Wali’s splinter group to no avail. The Walis have always maintained ownership of PDP in Kano, even when the central working committee of the party ceded the leadership to Kwankwaso, the decision Wali’s group challenged.

The internal rumbling took a dramatic dimension recently when the two factions declared different positions on local government elections scheduled for January 16, 2021. While the Kwankwasiyya group declared its decision to boycott the council poll, the Wali faction said it would take part in the election.
The Kwankwasiyya PDP caretaker chairman, Alhaji Danladi Umar Abdulhameed, at a press conference, declared that the opposition would not get justice in the process that is already being undermined by the Dr. Umar Ganduje-led government. Danladi questioned the independence and neutrality of of the Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) in conducting credible polls, alleging that the sum of N2.3bn approved for KANSIEC was meant to manipulate the process.

“We are of the conviction that credibility is lacking in KANSIEC,” Danladi charged. “The PDP and indeed the people of Kano cannot forget how Governor Ganduje and the APC, in connivance with electoral officials, used hoodlums and political thugs as well as security agents to intimidate voters and disenfranchise the populace during the 2019 general election.
“In our wisdom as the main opposition, we cannot give credibility to an election that has a prearranged outcome, an election conducted by a government that stole our mandate. Our decision also predicates on the fact that we don’t have confidence in the electoral process and that we will not get a level playing field from KANSIEC.”

While countering Kwankwasiyya’s argument, the protem chairman of the party, Muhammina Bako Lamido and an ally of Wali, insisted PDP would participate in the council poll with aspirants for both 44 chairmanship and 484 councillorship positions.

According to Lamido; “For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP in Kano did not authorise the said person to make the said statement and the said person does not possess the standing and mandate to make the said statement. As the matter stands, the only organ of PDP with power to act under section 24 subsection 2 (b) of the PDP’s constitution is the state executive committee through the interim administrative committee led by Lamido.”
Even with the intention of the Wali-led group to contest the LG poll, the group cannot use the PDP platform after Justice Lewis Allogao’s judgment of the Federal High Court, Kano, which upheld the Kwankwasiyya group as the authentic faction.
The court dismissed the suit filed by Ambassador Wali’s faction, seeking to declare the outcome of the party’s ward and state congresses null and void. The faction equally claimed that the constitution of the party leadership was lopsided in favour of Kwankwaso. Subsequently, the court affirmed the caretaker leadership of the party under Kwankwaso.
Justice Allogao also agreed with the party’s submission that the suit instituted by Wali’s group was status-barred, having filed it 85 days after the course of action.

Despite the court verdict, KANSIEC has said Wali’s faction remains a valid part of the January 16 local council poll. KANSIEC insisted, “there is no concrete evidence before the commission to deny the Wali’s faction an opportunity to contest the poll.”

Reacting to the court judgment, KANSIEC Chairman, Professor Ibrahim Garba Sheka, told The Guardian that since the commission was not joined as a party in the case, the declaration of the court has no compelling authority on the electoral body. Professor Sheka explained that KANSIEC would not hesitate to recognise Wali’s faction of PDP since the Kwankwasiyya’s block had formerly declared intention to boycott the election.
According to Sheka; “As far as we are concerned, we don’t have a problem with the court verdict, because KANSIEC is not joined or mentioned in the suit. Already the Kwankwasiyya faction has formally written to KANSIEC that they are not interested in the council poll. So, if another faction is interested, so be it. We don’t have a problem with that because to us, they still represent PDP.

“For instance, the court in its judgment did not mention KANSIEC and that is why we would continue to recognise the people that bought forms to contest elections until the court says otherwise. But for now, we have PDP as one of the 12 political parties contesting the council poll.”

MEANWHILE, Governor Ganduje has also countered Kwankwasiyya’s position to boycott the election, saying the move is an indication that the movement is no longer relevant in the politics of the state. In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information in Kano, Mallam Muhammad Garba, Ganduje maintained that besides withdrawing from the poll, Kwankwasiyya has no platform to participate in the poll.
Ganduje, who stressed that KANSIEC is an independent body empowered to conduct credible election, dismissed the allegation of fraud levelled against him by the Kwnankwasiyya group that the monies earmarked for the conduct was meant to compromise the system.   
“We are not surprised at this claim by the beleaguered group, which is in legal battle with another faction of the party over its status and the PDP headquarters, by the provision of the constitution of the party, only identify and recognise the State Working Committee to take charge of the affairs of the party in such circumstances,” Ganduje said.

“While the All Progressives Congress (APC) has already ensured the emergence of its candidates for the local government election through consensus or conduct of primary election, you may also recall that during the 2013 local polls, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso single-handedly handpicked and imposed candidates on the people.” 

Although Wali’s faction has denied that the ruling APC was interfering in PDP’s affairs, the reaction of the government indicates otherwise, with observers viewing the crisis in PDP as having the imprint of Ganduje’s government. For instance, the eldest son of Wali, Hon. Sadiq Aminu Wali, was recently appointed Commissioner of Water Resources in Ganduje’s cabinet. Wali Jr has made it clear that he remains a card-carrying member of PDP, even as he serves in Ganduje’s government.   
While still battling the internal crisis, the Kwankwasiyya movement has maintained stiff opposition to Ganduje’s government, accusing it of selling public property. While addressing journalists recently, one of the leaders of the Kwankwasiyya movement and PDP running mate at the last election, Comrade Aminu Abdulsalam, chided Ganduje for what he considered reckless and unacceptable conversion of public property to private ownership.
According to Abdulsalam, the Ganduje administration has sold Kano State’s Zoological Gardens, Daula Hotel, Triumph Publishing Company, Eid Ground, Panshekara Modern Abattoir, Hajj Camp, and Shahuci Motor Park. The PDP chieftain, who insisted that the opposition party would not be deluded by promises of investment return to the state, accused the governor of disposing of public property to a few cronies and family members.
Abdulsalam reminded that “Ganduje’s last five years of administration is disastrous, characterised by underdevelopment and failure to deliver to the good people of Kano. We are calling on the attention of the government and the wealthy, egocentric individuals involved in the grabbing of public land to desist from this mindless act. The people of Kano, our party the PDP, would not give any self-serving politician and his cohorts the latitude to convert public properties for selfish use.”

In a swift reaction, Kano State Government insisted PDP and Kwankwasiyya’s criticisms would not prevent efforts to rejuvenate non-performing public assets in the state. Ganduje maintained that his government would rather sustain the revitalization of the under-performing assets through Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with willing investors in the best public interest and as part of a noble, futuristic move to make the ancient city catch up with modernity for a befitting mega city status.
In a release signed by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, Ganduje emphasised that contrary to erroneous beliefs, the abandoned and structurally defective properties, some of which have been in comatose, would be turned around by committed stakeholders. 
According to the statement; “Daula Hotel, which had been abandoned for years, has become a hiding place for criminals, even as the School of Hospitality and Tourism, situated within its premises, which only occupies 10 per cent of the structure, would now be developed to a residential building for enhanced revenue generation.
“As for the once vibrant Triumph newspapers unceremoniously closed down by the Kwankwaso administration in 2012, one quarter of which was converted to a public convenience, it was revived by the present administration and now relocated to a more convenient place befitting a newspaper house to pave the way for the development of a more economically viable and modern Bureau de Change market that can generate more revenue to the state and provide employment opportunities.”
The statement further reads, “the state’s Zoological Garden is being relocated from residential areas for public safety, because when it was established, the garden was on the outskirts of Kano with no human inhabitants, while the place will now be put to more economic use. No zoo across the world is to be found in residential area.
“The Kwankwaso administration is rather infamous for land grab and personalising public property, because there are available records on how his government sold many valuable residential buildings in the Government Reserved Area (GRA) as well as vehicles belonging to the state government, valued at millions of naira at giveaway prices. 
“Kwankwaso confiscated and converted for other use land earmarked by the administration of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau for school building, diverted pensioners’ money to embark on a white elephant project by building houses that are still beyond the purchasing power of an average citizen.”
Ganduje then urged residents to ignore rumours being peddled by the Kwankwasiyya movement with the sole intention of casting aspersion on his administration’s mission of developing the state to make it attain a mega city status.